Wellness programs have increasingly become a hot topic amongst companies looking to retain their employees, recruit talent, and ensure employee productivity. The challenge? Deciding what to offer your employees. With thousands of options out there, the most important characteristic of successful wellness programs addresses the prominent issues of the employee population. Do they have high blood pressure? Do they call in sick frequently? Are they producing sub-standard results?
Successful wellness programs are marked by offering specific platforms that not only address employees’ specific needs, but they’ll also encourage desired improvements from the side of the employer. That being said, success is defined on a case-by-case basis, as each company has their own unique qualms. To start, here are four companies trailblazing their way through employee wellness.
Nap time is no longer just for kindergarten, and no one knows this as well as Asana, the project management software company based in San Francisco. They provide “nap rooms” so employees can rest up, recharge, and wind down.
Why, you ask? According to Dr. Mednick, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, a twenty to sixty-minute nap can help with memorization and learning specific bits of information. Therefore, taking a quick cat nap might result in better retention of information and, subsequently, better job performance.
Not only that, Asana also offers unlimited paid time off, daily onsite yoga programs and free gym memberships to promote living an active lifestyle. An in-house culinary team also serves three nutritious meals a day to employees, while using fresh produce from local organic farms.
A 2013 survey by APA's Center for Organizational Excellence found that more than one-third of working Americans reported experiencing chronic work stress, and just 36% said their organizations provide sufficient resources to help them manage that stress.
Intuit, a business and financial software company in California, heavily focuses on reducing their employees’ stress levels. Their “Fit for Life” program includes meditation and mindfulness classes, on the company’s dime, as well as incentives for employees who engage in stress-reducing habits, such as breathing exercises, taking walks, or listening to calming music. Om-mazing.
It’s important to know your health numbers, and Microsoft certainly knows theirs. While it is important to focus on all aspects of health, health screenings are a fantastic place to start. Microsoft provides screenings for employees, as well as their family members, for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure, along with mammograms and flu shots. They also offer on-site health clinics, including optometrists and pharmacists. Throw in on-site laundry and grocery delivery, and you have a successful wellness program employees love and actually want to use.
Alex Lee, parent company of Lowe’s Foods and Merchants Distributors, offers their employees access to top fitness studios and facilities in their region, so employees can participate in whatever type of workout that is most appealing to the individual. CrossFit, boxing, Pilates, spin, yoga, you name it - they have access to all of it through Peerfit.
By allowing employees the opportunity to choose how they live an active lifestyle, Alex Lee has increased their employee engagement and overall employee satisfaction. Employees of Alex Lee gave Peerfit a Net Promoter Score of 81% (vs 43% average for the fitness industry) in a survey administered four months after rolling out their Peerfit program. Telling employees to be active is great, but actually providing ways for employees to do so, and giving them the power of choice, is the true key to success.
When it comes to wellness programs, there is really no one answer. Demographics of your employees are going to range, as are their needs. A successful wellness program not only addresses general needs, but it also provides a proactive solution for them. Sleep, mindfulness, health metrics, active lifestyles and positive office environments can contribute to successful wellness programs. At the end of the day, it is up to the employer to determine what is most important for their team, and, ultimately, move forward with a plan of action.